The Caldecott Medal

Artists and Books Recognized for Their Award Winning Illustrations

The Caldecott Medal has been awarded each of the past 75 years
to artists whose illustrations have contributed to the publication
of the most distinguished American picture book for children.

The 2002 Caldecott Medal was awarded to David Wiesner for Three Little Pigs.  According to Kate McClelland, chair of the 2002 Award Selection Committee, "Pigs burst through the pages' boundaries and soar into new dimensions. Transformations occur as the pigs boldly enter new stories, make friends, and ultimately control their own fate.  Witty dialogue and physical humor make this a selection that will have youngsters squealing with delight...." 
When David Wiesner was in the fourth grade, rather than doing his morning board work he used his 6" x 9" ochre paper for drawing.  His teacher was not amused.  She took the picture and wrote an angry note to David's mother: "David would rather be drawing than doing his a.m. work."  How right she was and aren't we glad he did!

In addition to the one book selected to receive the Caldecott Medal, each year a number of other books are selected as Caldecott Honor Books.  The terms and criterion for selection can be reviewed here. 

One of these Caldecott Honor Books for 2002 is The Dinosaurs of Waterhouse Hawkins, a historic biography of the 19th century British dinosaur artist Benjamin Waterhouse Hawkins.  Illustrated by Brian Selznick with text by Barbara Kerley, the story is told with the sense of showmanship Mr. Hawkins used in his own public lectures and presentations. Using deep, rich colors, theatrical staging as the setting, and monumental dimensions, Brian Selznick creates a balance between illustration and design while joining this story about science and art. 

"From the textured leather-like scrapbook jacket, to an interior filled with fascinating facts and vibrant acrylic paintings, this dramatic biography presents the story of one person's creative vision. Selznick captures Hawkins's passion with whimsy, exuberance, and attention to historical detail," said McClelland, chair of the award committee.

Martin's Big Words: the Life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., illustrated by Bryan Collier with text by Doreen Rappaport, is another 2002 Caldecott Honor Book. 

The title of the book refers to the importance and impact of Dr. King's speeches upon American life and the American psyche.  In writing about the illustrations that accompany Dr. King's words, the selection committee wrote: "Collier combines two mediums, paint and cut-paper collage, to beautifully evoke the dramatic and inspiring life of this great civil rights leader. Sunlight streaming through stained glass windows, the ugly flames of a destructive fire and the gentle glow of four candles in a church illuminate milestones from King's life." 

"A heartwarming tale, satisfyingly told with an economy of word and art, this story will resonate with both children and adults for years to come. Simont's illustrations create an emotional identity of Willy as 'Everydog' and the boy and girl as "Everychild....'" 

This is how the Selection Committee describes The Stray Dog, the third book to receive this year's Honor Medal recognition.  Written and illustrated by Marc Simont, this humorous story conveys the natural desire of humans and canines to belong. To see the titles of the 73 books that Marc Simont has illustrated during his long career, including his 1957 Caldecot Medal winner A Tree is Nice, visit this web site.


With over 700 children's picture books published each year, the competition for recognition is keen.  Recognition by as prestigious an organization as the American Library Association (ALA) can spell commercial success for a new book, and professional accolades from fellow artists and illustrators. To learn more about how the Randolph Caldecott Medal came into existence, visit the ALA web site.

Below are the Caldecott Medal winners 
for the years 1999, 2000 and 2001.

In 2001, So You Want to Be President? was recognized for its ink, watercolor, and pastel renderings of four American icons, plus many more.  But are those the right presidents and why are they smiling?  Check out the official Mount Rushmore web site to compare reality with David Small's imaginary men and read Judith St. George's true, but not-often-told story of the American presidency.
The story, Joseph Had a Little Overcoat, is based upon a Yiddish folk tale and tells of the resourcefulness of a Jewish tailor.  This 2000 winner of the Caldecott Medal uses the mixed media of watercolor, gouache, pencil, ink, and collage to create a story that literally draws you into the pages of the book. 

Simms Taback and Reynold Ruffins had shared their artists' studio for 28 years when "Across the Drawing Board from Simms Taback" appeared in the July/August 2000 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.  Ruffins said of Taback, "He's innovative, creative, warm. He sees the overview, the underview, and the details. He cares. But his work habits are a strange symphony of beauty and agony."  To learn more about Simms Taback and his family's artistic gift, read the entire article.

Raised on a small farm in northern Virginia, studying printmaking as a college student, and living for the past 40 years in Vermont, Mary Azarian brought her current life, childhood memories, and artistic talents together to create the woodcuts that adron the pages of Snowflake Bentley, 1999 Caldecot Medal winner.  Azarian's illustrations captures Wilson Bentley's fascination with each delicate snowflake.
Uri Shulevitz's story, Snow, also celebrates the arrival of nature's whitener, but snow's slow blanketing is this book's dominant image.
Snow was recognized as an Honor Book in 1999.

M E Dallman's Hub Page

 VSU Preservice teachers' websites